A Man’s Place – A Response to Mark Driscoll

24 Oct

I recently came across a clip from a Mark Driscoll Q&A session in which he addressesmark-driscoll_profile_img men who stay at home rather than working.  In it, he mentions 1 Timothy 5:8 which tells us that “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

What does this mean in today’s world?  It seems like hard words for any man who finds himself out of work and/or struggling to make ends meet in this economy, right?  First, check out the clip from Mark and his wife: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WPVxndUcHQ.

The context of 1 Timothy

Now, to begin with, I’d like to point out two things.  First off, Paul has been talking about widows up to this point in chapter 5.  This passage is part of a long list of instructions that Paul gives to Timothy on how the church ought to be run.  In Greco-Roman culture, the family unit was the hub.  It didn’t matter whether you were a Christian or a pagan, it was simply understood that you would provide for all the needs of those under your care.  So if a man does not provide for those God has placed in his care, how is his life a witness to the rest of the world?

Secondly, I’d like to grammar-nazi it up here and point out that the wording is does not.  It does not say that those who cannot provide for their families are worse than unbelievers.  If you’ve been laid off or are sick or injured, this verse is not the Bible calling you a major d-bag.  This passage does speak to our priorities, and the meaning of love.  To love is to provide and protect.  As men, we are called to these two duties in a way that reflects Christ.

What are we called to Provide?

When the passage discusses providing for one’s family here, we’re not just talking about bringing home the bacon.  We’re addressing a man’s ability to care for those in need around him.  When it comes to our families, especially our wives, Ephesians 5:25 tells us “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  Love is an essential element of provision.

So, what does it look like to provide well?  For starters, we are called to give up our lives.  This means my career decisions, my financial decisions, my emotional, social, sexual, recreational decisions…..are not determined by my wants and needs but by the needs of those God has placed in my care.  

If it feels like someone just placed a huge responsibility on your shoulders, then you understand.  I’ve encountered entirely too many guys that get into Ephesians 5 and get hyped about being the head of the household like it’s simply being in charge.  The truth is, that if we were to really love and provide for our families the way that Christ loves and provides for the church, our marriages, families, heck our entire lives would stand out like sore thumbs in the culture of “me”.

Roles and Responsibilities

So where is a man’s place?  Can a man be a stay-at-home dad and still be living Biblically?  I’d say that’s asking the wrong question.  Instead we need to examine what is driving our decisions.  I’d say that there are many situations in which a man’s home life doesn’t have to look like the traditional ‘hubby goes to work while wifey takes care of the kids.’  Instead of asking what roles we have ‘permission’ to assume, we ought to be asking ourselves what responsibilities we have an obligation to assume, and how do they show up in our decision-making?

Because at the end of the day, our households will reflect our priorities.  A man’s place is serving and sacrificing, providing and protecting.  This is what we will be held accountable for, and not the manner in which we do it.


david hughesDave Hughes is 32 and is an instructor in the Army, teaching leadership at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy on Ft. Bragg.  He’s currently studying counseling at Liberty University Online and plans on going into vocational ministry after the Army.  He blogs at http://davehughesblog.wordpress.com/ and Tweets at @DaveEvanHughes

3 Responses to “A Man’s Place – A Response to Mark Driscoll”

  1. mjsmentalmusings October 25, 2013 at 11:56 #

    Wonderful! I was nodding as I read it. My husband is in sales and does have periods where his income is sporadic. However, he supports our family in many ways. Support comes in many forms.

    • gdavidboyd October 25, 2013 at 13:28 #

      Our capitalistic and materialistic world puts dollar signs behind everything. However, you are correct, support does come in many forms. Thanks for reading.


  1. Driscoll’s sinned – Get the rocks, pitchforks, and torches | davehughesblog - August 3, 2014

    […] see eye to eye on every issue.  I’ve publicly disagreed with him on other public forums like this one before.  I realize that on some issues, we simply aren’t going to agree.  I do think […]

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